I cannot believe this isn’t on the blog. From 198 —?
I hear his Chrysler
crunching up the driveway and I toss
my cigarette into the gravel, since we are
supposed to be quitting.
As we load the scatterguns
into the truck we both lie
about the day before,
boasting about not smoking,
saying we don’t even miss nicotine.
All morning long we lie in the blind,
blasting and rejoicing
when we kill. When the hunt is over
we go home
and my girls come running out to meet us,
calling first his name and then mine,
hanging off of our knees as we
carry the quarry to the front porch.
We sit for two hours with Martha and Emily
while he plays my guitar, I think,
better than I ever will. Once the girls
have run off we have more coffee and he says to me:
‘So is it all you thought it would be, now that you’ve settled down?’
And I say
nothing, until I can come up with
some half-obvious ghost of a facsimile of
some half-obvious half-truth, and then I say:
‘Sure. Best thing I ever did. I feel right about it.’
We sit for another half hour,
watching each other not smoking,
while the morning’s blood is drying and old habits
crust over the distance I half-believe lies between us.
We keep silent, thinking of the children.